With Mothers Day just over a week away, I figured a little gift guide might come in handy for some of you. It can be daunting trying to think up an original gift idea for that very special lady in our lives; something that is both personal to your mum and properly shows how much you appreciate everything she does for you. Often it’s a case of picking up a scented candle, some flowers or expensive chocs at the last minute, and very nice though these treats are, I thought it would be fun to look at a few alternative gift ideas, each costing no more than a fiver.
I was therefore delighted when the kind folk over at TK Maxx sent me a gift card recently to spend in-store on Mothers Day gift ideas. I have made no secret before of just how much of a TK Maxx fan I am and after a very enjoyable wander around the store, I chose a handful of goodies which I think make quite unique gifts, so if you’re struggling on the present front, have a read for some last minute inspiration…
I was lucky to recently experience the sights and scenes of Qatar’s capital city, Doha, when I went to visit my brother and his family there at the beginning of March. Having never travelled to the Middle East before, it was a totally new experience for me and one which I thought I’d share with you here today.
I managed to take in some of the amazing architecture, interiors and culture during the few days I was staying in the city, thanks to my wonderful tour guide a.k.a. my big brother, so I’ve pulled together a few shots of things that particularly caught my eye, from beautifully tiled pavements to those towering skyscrapers so typical of a fast-growing, modern city in this part of the world…
If you’ve been following the blog lately, both here and over on my Instagram feed, you’ll know I’ve been working with IKEA on their Win at Sleeping campaign. With the aim of helping us solve our sleep issues and, in turn, our health and wellbeing, the campaign is centred around what small changes we can make at home to improve our nighttime routine, sleeping habits and general sleep preparation.
As I talked about in my first post in this series last week, we have worked with IKEA to identify our own family’s sleep problems and in order to try to solve them, we will be trying out some IKEA products over the coming weeks. We were very excited to take delivery of the products at the beginning of this week and after lots of flat pack fun in the ensuing days, I can finally show you what we chose to try out in the hope of better sleep preparation and comfort ahead…
I don’t know about you, but these cold, dark mornings are making me feel really lazy and lethargic when it comes to getting out of my warm bed at the start of the day. I’ve also never been that good at getting myself organised and off to bed early during the week; the draw of on-demand telly whilst cocooned in a thick blanket on the couch, being my particular downfall. Who’s with me on this? Or perhaps you find yourself scrolling through Pinterest, searching for the answer to your dream kitchen cupboard colour – been there? Thought so. We are all depriving ourselves of wholesome sleep for every minute we waste on our tablets or phones when it’s past our bedtime, and in the morning when the alarm goes off, we pay for it.
I was therefore really excited to be contacted by the lovely folk at IKEA, asking me to work with them on their Win at Sleeping campaign, which you may have noticed recently on TV and in the press. It’s no secret that as a nation, we aren’t great sleepers, with many of us struggling to get a decent eight hours’ kip on a regular basis. The fast pace of modern life, along with the addictive pull of ever present smartphones and tablets with their stimulating blue screens, is certainly a major contributing factor, however many of our sleep problems have startlingly simple roots, such as inadequate sleep preparation, bad sleeping habits or a poorly organised bedroom environment.
IKEA are determined to promote better sleep for all of us and for good reason, too. There are countless benefits to be had from sleeping well, including better mood, raised energy levels, improved productivity at work and school, as well as positive health effects, such as improved memory, a sharper mind and lower stress levels. And the best thing about it? It only takes making a few small changes to guarantee ‘The Wonderful Everynight’ that we all need…
This is just a quick post to show you a little sewing project I embarked upon recently. When we moved into our new home in February last year, I had to think of an affordable way to dress the windows, and no more so than in our drawing room, which is dual aspect, meaning two sets of curtains were required. Each window is fairly tall and wide so I knew I would either have to buy a load of fabric to make curtains with (the expensive option) or source readymade ones which I reckoned would be nigh on impossible given the window dimensions.
So I took myself off to Ikea, the big blue and yellow friendly giant offering solutions to many a décor problem, where I found a lovely set of readymade, long curtains (here) with a nice linen-like look and feel to them. I knew they’d be perfect for the job in hand, EXCEPT that they were tab top, which I’m not a huge fan of. Unless you live in a country cottage or student flat, I don’t really think tab tops quite cut it on the style front…
When we moved house almost a year ago, the first part of the house we decided to redecorate was the open plan kitchen/living room. Firstly, we had the existing oak units painted a light cream (Farrow & Ball’s Slipper Satin to be precise), then we laid a new wood laminate floor throughout the entire room and finally retiled the kitchen wall area between the cupboards and worktop. It has made such a difference compared to what it was like before! (Take a look back in case you missed it; I did a first reveal of the work last year here).
Over the past couple of months, we have been busy finishing off the room with softer touches such as window coverings and rugs. There are still some additions I’d like to make to add further warmth to the room, such as the introduction of more colour across cushions and textiles, however it’s definitely getting there.
At last I can finally show you the latest reveal pics! (more…)
In the penultimate week of the Great Interior Design Challenge competition, we saw a definite upturn in the standard of the designers’ talents, with plenty of creative and unique ideas being put into place in an effort to secure a place in the final week.
Last week I looked briefly at a handful of design elements employed by the competitors that I thought we could work into our own homes’ interiors. This week, just as the final stretch of the show gets underway, I’m taking a quick peek back at last week’s projects and some of the design ideas I particularly liked, including blue interior colour schemes, creative uses for wallpaper and making bespoke art for the home. There were so many different design techniques employed last week that I have had to just pick out a few.
Lets take a look!
As a way of nudging myself gently back into the usual weekly routine, I’ve been setting aside some time to sit down with a cuppa to watch this year’s Great Interior Design Challenge (GIDC), back on our screens this past week. With the show now into its fourth series, there have been a few tweaks, the most obvious being the introduction of new judge, renowned interior designer and all-round businesswoman Kelly Hoppen. She and fellow judge Daniel Hopwood are certainly already putting the contestants through their paces.
I’m hoping that as the weeks progress, we will see more genuine raw talent shining through as the contestants gain worthwhile hands-on experience and, in turn, confidence in their ability, so I thought it would be fun to share a weekly round-up of some of the better ideas they’re coming up with and look at how they might work in your own home (because let’s face it, a LOT of their ideas are very much for the TV screen and I’m pretty sure I’m not alone in finding myself cringing when they get the stencils and gold paint out…).
Here’s a quick rundown of what they had in store for us last week…
Firstly, a Happy New Year to you! It’s so good to be back here ready to share a fresh new 12 months of home interiors discoveries, challenges and projects with you.
So here we are in January – that long, rather bleak month which seems to stretch out to infinity with its cold, biting air and dark mornings. It’s also the time when we have finally taken down our wonderful Christmas trees and cleared everything cheerfully festive and sparkly back up into the attic for another year. The upside to this is that for many of us, ridding the house of tinsel and other excess dust-attracting décor gives us a welcoming, clean, refreshing feeling, however the lack of twinkle and greenery can also make our homes feel that little bit bare and less inviting than before. It’s for this very reason that I’ve decided to dedicate this first blog post of 2017 to giving you a few ideas on how you can fill that void left by the Christmas decorations in your home and embrace the season of winter throughout your interior décor.
With Christmas literally just around the corner, the shopping days left in the calendar are quickly falling away. Hopefully you will be super organised and have everything wrapped up and safely installed under the tree, however for many of us (me included!), there is often the stress of that last present or two that we are simply struggling to find inspiration for.
With this in mind, I was therefore delighted to be contacted by the lovely Katrina, who co-runs Designers in Detail, an exclusive pre-Christmas pop-up shop, showcasing some of the best designers and makers from all over Ireland. Located in the beautiful Victorian surroundings of Maryville House, off Lisburn Road, Belfast, the collection features unique and carefully designed gifts for men, women and children, including ceramics, jewellery, textiles, skincare, homeware pieces, leather and tweed bags, cookbooks and candles, as well as a fantastic children’s range of clothing, toys and books. Many of these designs aren’t available locally here in Northern Ireland, so if you’re looking for that unique, individual gift for someone, I urge you to visit the pop-up shop – it’s open between 11 and 5 everyday (except Sun) until Christmas Eve, upstairs in Maryville House, 2 Maryville Park (above the Maryville Tearoom), so you’ve a few days left to have a browse and hopefully find that perfect gift! (more…)